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What Happens in New Jersey if You Cause Some of Your Own Injuries?

The Comparative Negligence Approach in New Jersey

What Happens in New Jersey if You Cause Some of Your Own Injuries?You’re running late for an appointment and driving faster than you should be. Another motorist, perhaps misjudging your speed, fails to yield to your right of way and collides with you. The accident would not have occurred if the other motorist had obeyed the law, but it also would not have occurred if you weren’t speeding. Can you still seek compensation for your losses?

How New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Laws Work

Before 1970, New Jersey (like many other states) applied the principle of contributory negligence when both parties had some responsibility for causing an accident. Under that approach, a person who contributed in any way to causing an accident could not recover compensation of any kind. Because of the often unfair results that this brought, New Jersey replaced contributory negligence with comparative negligence.

Under the comparative negligence approach, the court first ascertains the full amount of the losses suffered by the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit). Once those damages have been calculated, the jury then determines the degree to which the plaintiff was responsible for causing the collision. The full measure of damages is then reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of liability.

For example, suppose you were hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, and the jury calculates your losses at $500,000. The jury also determines that you were 40% responsible for bringing about the accident. Your damage award will then be reduced by $200,000 (40 percent of $500,000).

New Jersey has adopted the form of comparative negligence known as modified comparative negligence. That means that, as the injured party, your liability must have been less than that of the defendant. If your liability is greater than 50%, you cannot recover anything.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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